iPad orientation lock will become mute switch in iOS 4.2 | iLounge News

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iPad orientation lock will become mute switch in iOS 4.2

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By Jesse Hollington

Social Media & Software Editor, iLounge
Published: Monday, October 25, 2010
News Categories: Apple, iPad

The first beta version of iOS 4.2 released last month changed the behaviour of the orientation lock switch to act as a mute switch instead, similar to the function of the switch on the iPhone. When this change was first revealed, many wondered if this was intentional behaviour on Apple’s part or simply a temporary change as a result of unifying iOS 4.2 on both the iPhone and iPad devices. 9to5Mac is now reporting that this is an intentional change on Apple’s part following an e-mail exchange between a reader and Steve Jobs. Not only did Jobs allegedly confirm that the switch is going to be used to mute the sound but also indicated that the switch function would not be configurable by the user. It is worth noting that the hardware switch on the iPad was originally advertised as a mute switch, and Apple only changed the function to an orientation lock in late March shortly before the initial release of the iPad. iOS 4.2 on the iPad is expected to include an orientation lock button in the multitasking dock widget that was introduced for the iPhone and iPod touch in iOS 4.0, a function that was not otherwise available on the iPad with iOS 3.2.

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Comments

1

Dumb move! I like the orientation lock! If I need to mute now, I hold down volume button. And amazingly within a nanosecond, “no sound!” Doesn’t apple see this redunant capabilities?

Posted by Jyoung on October 25, 2010 at 6:43 AM (PDT)

2

why does it need a mute switch?  the orientation lock function made sense….  the volume rocker already can mute if you hold it long enough.

Posted by mark83 on October 25, 2010 at 10:31 AM (PDT)

3

You know sometimes I really feel like Jobs sits in that office of his and starts planning on how to piss off his loyal customers.

Posted by Miguel on October 25, 2010 at 11:05 AM (PDT)

4

I really don’t understand why they even have a “settings” app when they don’t put it to use in situations like this.  Just let us choose what the switch will be for, it cannot be that difficult!  They could even add a few other choices (for example : set two specific brightness levels and the switch flips between them).

Posted by BrennerM on October 25, 2010 at 11:50 AM (PDT)

5

I am with BrennerM here. While I could care less whether the switch mutes or locks orientation (both have/will have alternative ways of doing these), I would really like to define what it does from a list of features. That brightness idea is excellent given the iPad’s mobile nature. I would also vote for a touchscreen lock that prevents inadvertent “waking” and saving some battery.

Posted by Mitch on October 25, 2010 at 12:11 PM (PDT)

6

I rarely mute my iPad.  I regularly use the orientation lock swtich, and it is helpful to know where it is physically located.  Changing the function seems decidedly non-ergonomic.  And what might make sense on an iPhone does not necessarily make sense for an iPad.

Posted by Singlestick on October 25, 2010 at 12:50 PM (PDT)

7

I have been using the iOS 4.2 beta 2 and 3 for some time now and I can say I use the mute switch MUCH more often than the orientation lock switch; one would think the orientation lock would be a more useful feature (I myself thought so at one time) but the more I use iOS 4.2 the more I like the change from orientation lock to mute switch (mind you, using the mute switch doesn’t mute things like music or movies, only system sounds such as mail and application sound FX).

Posted by Pigsinablanket! on October 25, 2010 at 1:39 PM (PDT)

8

@Pigsinablanket! (#7): You’ve just described the main differentiator of the mute switch over simply holding down the volume button.  Silencing push notifications and calendar alerts without having to adjust the volume for things like movie and music playback is the primary advantage of using the switch for this purpose.

I’m fairly confident that this is one of these changes that people will get used to once they’ve had some time with it.  Frankly lit’s a shame that Apple had to go the route of using the switch for an orientation lock in the first place (you can’t miss what you never had), but there really wasn’t any other easy way to do this in iOS 3.2.

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on October 25, 2010 at 2:56 PM (PDT)

9

Jaaaaaaaaaailbreaaaaaaak!

Posted by roberto k on October 26, 2010 at 6:38 AM (PDT)

10

Having used ‘Rotation Inhibitor’ on a jailbroken iPhone, I like the thought of being able to lock the orientation right there on the screen via a virtual button, but if it’s implemented like on the iPhone, won’t this require double-pressing the Home button to access the multitasking dock?

I can see the appeal in being able to mute only system sounds and alerts but this could prove to be a double-edged sword that leads to missed notifications when you forget to switch it back on. Will there be some sort of visual indicator on the status bar/taskbar to remind you that the sound is muted?

At the end of the day you have to wonder, would it really be all that detracting from the ‘Apple experience’ to just allow us to - as others have suggested - decide for ourselves what we want the switch to do? SBSettings is a great example of how much better iOS could be if Apple’s designers could just be a little more open to the input of outsiders. Remember Jobs’ “no one wants to watch video on a 2.5-inch screen” comment?

Posted by Paul on October 28, 2010 at 8:26 PM (PDT)

11

It would be nice to be able to decide what the switch does. However, I may flip that switch once every few days for only a moment or two- Same goes with muting the device. So I really see this change as to keep the hardware functionality of the iOS based devices the same. Although, I can think of a few cool things to do with the toggle switch which would be cool if someone made a JB tweak that lets the user decide what it does. grin (I know that there’s Activator, but this would fall outside of the realm of it)

Posted by DavidG on October 29, 2010 at 1:02 AM (PDT)

12

I have never had occasion to mute sounds on my iPad. If I want to cut out music, I can do it instantly with the volume down switch. On the other hand, I use the orientation switch frequently throughout the day. As different people have different needs, even in this small sampling, it would only make sense to have the switch user selectable. But, of course, that would be giving away control, and Steve couldn’t deal with that.

Posted by Sparkie S on November 1, 2010 at 5:55 PM (PDT)

13

Moving the orientation switch is ergonomically dumb. I’m another user who rarely mutes sounds, but who constantly uses the orientation switch.  Sometimes I will read or watch a video on the iPad while in bed.  It is very easy to wait for the screen to settle into position and then press the switch.

It simply does not make sense to do this any other way.  And since the iPad is NOT an iPhone, but a different device with different uses, there is no particularly reason to make the two devices “consistent.”  I don’t take phone calls on my iPad, so don’t need to be concerned about muting sounds so that I can carry on a conversation with someone.

Posted by Singlestick on November 2, 2010 at 10:19 AM (PDT)

14

I like many others like the orientation lock, as someone who travels a fair bit and uses my iPad to watch films and tv shows whilst stuck on hotels the orientation lock is very useful.
All to often whilst on a hotel bed I get the iPad in the right viewing position only for the orientation to change, then I use the lock switch.
Muting has never been a problem, like others have said all I need is hold the volume switch down, and that does the job.

Surely the best option (and I guess the least likely to happen) is to make it user configurable.
Then all types of user are happy, and Apple keeps it’s customers happy.

Posted by Cyberman in nr Heathrow, London on November 3, 2010 at 6:51 AM (PDT)

15

It’s been a huge pain to have to have to go the roundabout way of locking orientation. And yes, I never ever have to mute my iPad.

Posted by tarZen on November 3, 2010 at 9:57 AM (PDT)

16

To start with, iphone and ipod touch have NOT a switch, so the argument of consistency is not real

Posted by Fernando Cueva on November 4, 2010 at 4:56 AM (PDT)

17

Why O why do I find out after trying to lock my screen in a position I find it is now a mute button, why can’t we make the choice.  Now I guess I can’t make the choice of going back to the operating system that I enjoyed.

Posted by Dwight H on November 22, 2010 at 9:09 PM (PDT)

18

And, as it turns out, as it wasn’t bad enough, the mute switch only mutes system sounds like push notifications. Apple, if you’re going to make a bad mistake, at least go all the way. Cause now that switch is essentially pointless.

Posted by a.j. on November 23, 2010 at 9:42 PM (PDT)

19

Actually, that’s probably more of a feature than a limitation.  If the Mute switch muted everything, it would be redundant—you can already do that by holding down the volume button.  Muting only alert sounds is far more practical since you can now easily turn off things like new mail notifications so they don’t interrupt you in the middle of something else you’d rather be listening to.

It’s also a lot easier to flip the mute switch when the iPad is otherwise sleeping—previously if it was blaring out notifications you had to turn the screen on, unlock it and then hold down the volume-down button to mute all system sounds.

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on November 24, 2010 at 7:50 AM (PDT)

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